CT lawmakers defy Obama with override of veto on terrorism lawsuit bill
Updated at 4:15 p.m. with the U.S. House vote.
WASHINGTON — Every member of Connecticut’s all-Democratic congressional delegation voted Wednesday to override President Obama’s veto of of legislation allowing lawsuits against foreign sponsors of terrorism.
The vote to override the veto on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, is a stinging defeat for Obama, who cited national security reasons in his veto of the bill Friday. It is the first override of an Obama veto.
The bill had been presented to members of Congress as a way to help 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia for their loses and deterring nations from harboring terrorists.
“Mounting evidence that Saudi Arabia shares culpability for the horrific 9/11 attack should now be presented in court, and a judgment reached. Fears of reprisal or retaliation should never cause us to compromise American justice and values,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Sen. Chris Murphy said, “This bill fixes an unjustifiable loophole in the law that kept families in Connecticut out of court. I hope that the Saudis had nothing to do with the horrific terrorist attacks, but the families should be able to have their day in court.”
On Wednesday, both chambers of C0ngress had more than enough votes — a two-thirds majority was required — to override the president’s veto
In the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. cast the lone vote to sustain the veto after discussing the issue with Obama.
“I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done…” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
In the House, the override vote was 348-77.
Opponents of the bill argued that the bill would endanger U.S. military and diplomatic personnel overseas and open the door to lawsuits against the United States.
Others called it a rare bipartisan congressional effort to fix a flaw in the judicial system.
“While I was disappointed that President Obama vetoed the bill, Democrats and Republicans came together to give families of Americans who have been harmed by terrorism the tools they need to seek justice against foreign governments who are complicit in acts of terror,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District.
Sign up for CT Mirror's free daily news summary.
Free to Read. Not Free to Produce.
The Connecticut Mirror is a nonprofit newsroom. 90% of our revenue comes from people like you. If you value our reporting please consider making a donation. You'll enjoy reading CT Mirror even more knowing you helped make it happen.YES, I'LL DONATE TODAY